I had, perhaps unfairly, dismissed Akron/Family’s most recent album upon its arrival last February. Hideously titled, S/T II: The Cosmic Birth and Journey of Shinju TNT seemed to be straying too far from the gleefully raucous psychedelic tracks that burst forth from their previous releases, in particular the drones and reckless percussion of “Ed Is A Portal” and the stomping rhythmic second half of “They Will Appear.” The album seemed to owe too much to the wave of electronica-referencing loop-pedal mania that was then sweeping indie music; that said, I strangely enjoyed the “distorted fantasy noise bombed out” version of the album that the band purposefully leaked in the build up to the actual release. Regardless, I gave S/T II another attempt on a whim the other day, and was pleasantly surprised.
While there are still certain aspects of the album that annoy me, such as the hippy-didactic lyrics of “So It Goes” and the long wordless vocal passage of “A AAA O WAY,” other aspects have certainly endeared the album to me. Though soaked in pedal effects, “Silly Bears” still captures some the exuberant rhythm I had been expecting, while”Island” is one of their most catchy tunes to date, with pounding percussion over delicate guitars. Despite my distaste for opening, “A AAA O WAY” (eventually) resolves itself into a lovely lyric, before opening into the “So It Goes” with a typical Akron/Family ragged-Hendrix guitar solo. The kalimba which opens “Light Emerges” is a welcome touch of African influence. For better or worse, much of the latter half of the album sounds like a Do Make Say Think record with a trio of hippies harmonizing overtop of it all. Though the album contains a few dud lyrics and could use some more bombast and driving rhythms, it’s an enjoyable album that I hope to further develop my appreciation of. Check out the official video for album opener, “Silly Bears,” below.
Akron/Family, “Silly Bears”